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Marketing Plan Outline

4/30/2012

Marketing Plan Outline I. Mission Statement A. State the purpose of the marketing plan. The Purpose of this plan is to increase revenue of my plant sales. B. Explain why you are in business, both personal and business goals. The Goal of this business is to do something I enjoy (growing things), while providing quality plants to the public at a good price, while making a profit for myself. C. Review business goals and objectives as well as specific strategies to reach them. The strategies to do this are simple. I will buy seed, procure used or cheap pots, grow the seed to a saleable size, display the plants, and sell them. II. Product/Service A. Identify each service and product specifically. For product, identify in terms of name, trademark, color, shape, and other characteristic, including packaging and labeling. The product/service is well cared for plants, including but not limited to yellow squash, zucchini, Rutgers tomatoes, Better boy tomatoes, crimson sweet watermelons, and straight 8 cucumbers. The only trade mark is in the variety name of the plant. Color will be green. Shape and size will vary depending on plants. Plants will be moved up from six packs through 2 inch pots when needed. Labels will be placed in front of the different types of plants. Packaging will be as shown in the chart below:
Packaging Six Pack Example

Four Pack

2 Inch Pot

4 Inch Pot

B. Differentiate products/services in terms of exclusive processes or superior ingredients and other features. The difference between my plants and those of competitors relies in the growing process and care. Pesticides are rarely used, and only when necessary and in the smallest effective amount possible, and the plants are tended carefully to avoid disease and root binding.

C. Describe product/service weaknesses. The weakness is that the plants have to be tended carefully, and they have a limited lifespan and window of marketability. D. Describe product lines, and new products/services that will be introduced. In time I would like to expand to include flowers, as well as native plants and ferns. E. Give cost of each product/service. The costs vary, but roughly 4.50 per tray (9 four packs, 12 six packs) of plants, including the cost of seed, water, fertilizer, soil, and pots. F. Give the price you plan to charge for each product/service Six packs and four packs will be priced at 2.00, while two inch pots are four for 2.00. G. Identify percent of annual sales and total dollar amount each product/service represents. As I am just starting this process, I dont have those figures yet, but tomatoes seem to account for about 70% of sales. Ill. Market A. Identify your customers - include all demographic and lifestyle information. My customers are generally low to middle income, small town residents ranging in age from 20 to 75. B. Identify location of customers (local, regional, national or international). The location of my customers is local, mostly limited to Calhoun Falls presently. C. Identify factors in customer selection of the products/services and brands, including remittances. Customers choose my plants for several reasons. I have them on display, so they are seen, and I am the only source for plants in town. D. Identify the size of the total market The total size is around 500 people. E. Identify market trends, including information about market studies and test marketing. People want vegetable plants, and prefer to buy many types as plants rather than seed (tomatoes particularly). F. List factors that affect purchasing such as: 1) seasons, 2) obsolescence, 3) tax considerations, 4) price, availability, service, 5) emotional considerations, and 6) all other factors. This business is highly seasonal. People want plants at planting time (spring). The size of the plant that is desired depends on the person, but plant size and pot size must correspond (no one wants a 12 inch plant in a 2 inch pot).They will often buy from me because they know me, to avoid travelling out of town, and because my prices are cheaper. Plants are available as I

germinate and pot the seeds. There really arent emotional considerations other than buying from a friend or local person. G. Will promotional activities be concentrated in specific markets? Promotional activities will be concentrated locally to gardeners (plants on display in my yard with a Plants for Sale sign. IV. Competition (Direct and Indirect) A. Identify competitors by divisions, product lines and markets. There is no local competition. People have to go at least 15 miles to buy plants elsewhere, but Wal-mart, Lowes, and some feed/seed stores carry the same plants (at a higher price), but none in town. B. Identify and compare your company's and your competitors' strengths and weaknesses. My companys strengths are that I offer a quality product at lower prices, since I have lower overhead, and I have knowledge of the plant, as well as good customer service. My weakness is that I dont have the time or space to do bulk production. My competitors strength is in bulk stocking, and higher customer numbers due to location. The competitions weaknesses are that their prices are higher, the salespeople are often not knowledgeable about the products, and they are not located locally. C. Compare your marketing techniques with those of your competitors. My marketing is done by texting potential customers, facebook posts, and displaying the product with a sale sign over them. My competitors have more money for advertising, but Lowes and Wal-mart dont generally advertise vegetable plants, but people know they have them. V. Pricing A. Review product/service costs for accuracy including all variable and fixed expenses. Since much of my materials are recycled or free, my only real costs have been seed, which varies according to plant type. My fixed costs are water and miracle-gro. B. Be sure all products/services carry their share of expenses plus provide for profit. Anything I sell has a minimum 30% markup, so all products provide profit C. Compare prices for your products/services with similar products/services in the industry. My plants are generally cheaper than the competitors, or on occasion the price will be roughly the same but for larger/better plants. 1. If your prices will be higher, they need to provide the necessary "added value" to Justify. As mentioned above, my prices are almost always cheaper, but on the occasion that they are not the price increase is justified by the size and quality of the plant, and the convenience of not having to travel to buy the plants.

2. If your prices are lower, explain why in terms of your marketing strategy. My prices are lower due to almost no overhead, no pesticide use, no labor costs, and using recycled materials. This should increase my customer base. VI. Distribution A. Identify the most effective methods for getting products/services to customers in the Target market. Customers come to me, buy plants, and take them with them when they leave, so distribution is not really a consideration. B. Identify need for warehousing of products and for distribution channels if not sold direct to buyer. I sell direct to the buyer. VII. Promotion Mix A. Describe potential advertising program - discuss the following: 1. Possible use of ad agency and/or in-house ad department My advertising is done in-house, by me. I paint signs to put with the plants, put notices on social sites, and text or call customers. 2. Media choices, how selected and target audience I choose signs, phone, and the internet as my media choices, because they are either free or something I am already paying for. The target audience are the citizens of Calhoun Falls and the surrounding area. 3. Project expenditures for each medium and product/service My expenditures are minimal. I will probably spend about $20 total for seed and $10 for water. B. Describe potential public relations/publicity activities - i.e. business opening. The only public relations/publicity I plan is word of mouth, and posts on social networking sites. VIII. Sales Forecasting A. Review sales history of competitors through secondary research. I dont really have any competition in town.

B. Show recent sales trends in industry. The 2008 USDA Floriculture Crops Summary, released in April 2009, shows an increase in total veggie sales of about 18 percent over 2007. What other category has generated so much excitement and media news coverage for our industry in the past decade? When you dig a little bit deeper, theres more to learn from the numbers. USDA breaks vegetable type plant sales down into two types: flats and potted. Historically, flats have made up the majority of total sales. This was reversed in the 2008 Summary with vegetable pots edging out flats by almost $4 million. Pots also saw the larger percentage increase over the 2007 report : 31.3 percent versus 13.9 percent for flats. This shows that much of the growth in the category is coming from larger plants and premium potted vegetables, not traditional flats and packs.(Turner) C. Make any seasonal adjustments. As spring turns to summer less vegetable will sell, so I plan to shift the business towards ornamental plants, and produce when the garden starts producing. D. Project sales and income for next four quarters. (See business plan cash flow projections.) I think that my sales be be minimal up until fall, when I think I can sell around $200 worth of plants, and then the same for the upcoming spring quarter. IX. Action Plan A. List all marketing strategies/activities. The only marketing I am doing is already done. I have made and placed plant sale signs, put the plants on display, made facebook posts, and spread the word. B. Prioritize all strategies by levels of importance. The most important strategy is the sales signs near the plants to let people know that they are for sale. Until I placed the signs people did not know I was selling the plants, they thought that they were for my garden. XI. Production - Determine level of production/service necessary to meet demand generated by marketing. The way sales are right now, I can get by on producing about two flats of vegetable plants per week for sale. I look for this to pick up some in the next week or so.

Resources Turner, Dianna, Greenhouse Product News, Vegetables: Here Today, Growing Tomorrow, http://www.gpnmag.com/vegetables-here-today-growing-tomorrow